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Zweig, Stefan (1881-1942)

ZWEIG, STEFAN (1881-1942)

Stefan Zweig, an Austrian writer, was born in Vienna on November 28, 1881, and committed suicide in Petrópolis, Brazil, on February 22, 1942. From a wealthy middle-class Jewish family, Zweig enjoyed a privileged childhood. He grew up in an open-minded and multilingual homea background that undoubtedly played a role in his subsequent commitment to humanist and supranationalist thought. While young he became a celebrated author, traveled widely, and developed friendships with a host of literary figures, among them the French novelist and playwright Romain Rolland and the Belgian poet Emile Verhaeren, whose work he translated. Zweig's best-know works include the novels Amok (1922), Beware of Pity (1938), and Conflicts (1926), a collection that includes the novella Twenty-four Hours in the Life of a Woman. His autobiography, The World of Yesterday, appeared posthumously in 1943.

Zweig's work, at once distinguished by its richness and diversity, includes poetry, plays, essays, short stories, novels, and biographies. He was one of the most prolific authors of his time and played a major role in creating a rapprochement between French and German literature.

In Mental Healers (1932), Zweig not only discussed Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, and Franz Mesmer's animal magnetism; he also devoted an essay to Freud, for whom he expressed profound admiration and gratitude. In 1908 Zweig and Freud began a long correspondence that continued until the latter's death in London in 1939. Zweig delivered Freud's funeral oration.

In Zweig's letter to Freud of September 8, 1926, he wrote, "For me, psychology is today the great passion of my life (as you will understand better than anyone else). . . . You still play the decisive role in the invisible struggle for the soul. You alone are always the one to explain to us, in a creative way, the mechanism of the spiritual. More than ever we need you and your activity." Later, in his letter of October 21, 1932, he wrote, "Everything I write is marked by your influence and you understand, perhaps, that the courage to tell the truth, probably the essential thing in my books, comes from you: You have served as a model for an entire generation." Zweig's interest in psychoanalysis found expression in his writings. In both his novels and fictionalized biographies, the main characters are presented in "case histories," made more intriguing by a nostalgic evocation of a society condemned by history.

Freud recognized in Zweig an interest in, and aptitude for, psychological analysis. Although they argued several timesover errors Zweig made in translating Freud's work and concerning Zweig's appreciation of such detractors as Charles E. MaylanFreud valued Zweig's friendship until the end of his life.

After the Nazis prohibited and destroyed his books in 1933, Zweig emigrated to London in 1934. Together with Salvador Dali, he visited Freud on July 19, 1938. Since Freud was near death, Zweig did not dare to show him the two sketches that Dali had made of him. In his last letter to Freud, dated September, 14, 1939, nine days before Freud's death, he wrote, "I hope that you are suffering only from the era, as we all do, and not also from physical pain. We must stand firm nowit would be absurd to die without having first seen the criminals sent to hell."

After obtaining British citizenship in 1940, Zweig settled in Petrópolis, Brazil, in 1941. He became a symbol of the anguish of exile and the refusal to accept Hitler's early triumphs. Despite this, in profound despair after Nazi victories early in the war, he committed suicide together with his second wife, Lotte Altmann.

In his final declaration Zweig wrote, "It seems to me therefore better to put an end, in good time and without humiliation, to a life in which intellectual work has always been an unmixed joy and personal freedom earth's most precious possession." "I greet all my friends! May they live to see the dawn after the long night is over! I, all too impatient, am going on alone" (Allday, 1972, p. 238).

Christine de Kerchove

See also: "Dostoyevsky and parricide"; Goethe Prize; Literature and psychoanalysis.

Bibliography

Allday, Elizabeth. (1972). Stefan Zweig: A critical biography. Chicago: J. Philip O'Hara.

Freud, Sigmund, and Zweig, Stefan. (1987). Correspondence. Paris: Rivages Poche.

Niémetz, Serge. (1996). Stefan Zweig: Le voyageur et ses mondes. Paris: Belfond.

Zweig, Stefan. (1932). Mental healers: Franz Anton Mesmer, Mary Baker Eddy, Sigmund Freud. New York: Viking Press.

Further Reading

Mijolla, Alain de. (1998). Freud, biography, his autobiography, and his biographers. Psychoanalysis and History, 1 (1), 4-27.

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Zweig, Stefan

Stefan Zweig (shtĕf´än tsvīk), 1881–1942, Austrian biographer, poet, and novelist. Born in Vienna of a well-to-do Jewish family, he was part of the humanitarian, pan-European, pacifist, and populist cultural circle that included Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss. Zweig's first works were poetry and a poetic drama, Jeremias (1917, tr. 1929), which expressed his passionately antiwar feelings. During the 1920s and 30s, Zweig was extremely popular, and he was the most widely translated writer in Europe. With the rise of National Socialism, his works were condemned throughout the German-speaking world. He fled into exile in 1934, emigrating first to England, then to New York. In 1941 he and his second wife went to Brazil, where, exiled from the vanished cosmopolitan Europe where he had flourished, they subsquently committed suicide.

Zweig's best-known works of fiction are Ungeduld des Herzens (1938, tr. Beware of Pity, 1939, repr. 2006) and Schachnovelle (1944, tr. The Royal Game, 1944). He also wrote many biographies, which were based on psychological interpretation. The subjects of these include Marie Antoinette, Erasmus, Mary Queen of Scots, Magellan, Balzac, Verlaine, and Freud. Zweig's historical perception is best seen in Sternstunden der Menschheit (1928, tr. The Tide of Fortune, 1940). Long out of fashion and largely out of print, Zweig's work experienced a resurgence of interest in the 21st cent. when several of his books were retranslated and reprinted.

See his autobiography (and his last book, completed 1941 in Brazil), The World of Yesterday (1943) and his Collected Stories (2013); biographies by D. A. Prater (1972), E. Allday (1972), and O. Matuschek (2011); G. Prochnik, The Impossible Exile (2014).

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Zweig, Stefan

Zweig, Stefan (b Vienna, 1881; d Petrópolis, Brazil, 1942). Austrian novelist and playwright. Wrote lib. of Die schweigsame Frau for Richard Strauss and supervised libs. of Friedenstag and Daphne. Further collaboration with Strauss forbidden by Nazis because he was Jewish. Correspondence with Strauss pubd. (Frankfurt 1957, Eng. trans., Univ. of Calif., 1977). Died in suicide pact with his second wife.

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Zweig, Stefan

ZWEIG, STEFAN

ZWEIG, STEFAN (1881–1942), Austrian playwright, essayist, and biographer. The son of a wealthy Viennese industrialist, Zweig had an early and auspicious start in literature, publishing at the age of 20 his first verse collection, Silberne Saiten (1901). When Theodor *Herzl, literary editor of the influential Neue Freie Presse, agreed to publish one of his essays, young Zweig was greatly encouraged and he soon became an outstanding member of the "Young Vienna" group. In 1903 he wrote a foreword to a collection of paintings and illustrations by Ephraim Moses *Lilien. Zweig also devoted years of selfeffacing work to making the Belgian poet Emile Verhaeren known in German-speaking countries by translating Verhaeren's poetry and other works.

World War i marked a turning point in Zweig's outlook. His fourth play was a powerful pacifist drama, Jeremias (1918;Jeremiah, 1922), first staged in Zurich in 1917 when Zweig was attached to the war archives in Vienna. From 1919 Stefan Zweig lived in Salzburg, where his house became an international literary and cultural center. His friends included the French humanitarian Romain Rolland, whose biography Zweig published (1921) and whose novel Clérambault he translated a year later. Zweig's collected verse appeared in 1924.

He became best known for biographies, in which he often grouped three people of similar interests in one volume and attempted to find a common spiritual denominator. Drei Meister (1920; Three Masters, 1930) contained biographical studies of Balzac, Dickens, and Dostoevski; Der Kampf mit dem Daemon (1925) analyzed Hoelderlin, Kleist, and Nietzsche, who fell prey to mental illness or committed suicide; while Drei Dichter ihres Lebens (1928; Adepts at Self-Portraiture, 1928), discussed Casanova, Stendhal, and Tolstoy. These nine biographies were later incorporated in Baumeister der Welt (1935; Master Builders, 1939). Other biographies were devoted to Joseph Fouché (1929; Eng., 1930), Napoleon's terrifying minister of police; Marie Antoinette (1932; Eng., 1933); Mary Queen of Scots (1935; Eng., 1935); Magellan (1938; Conqueror of the Seas, 1938); and Amerigo Vespucci (1944; Amerigo: A Comedy of Errors in History, 1942).

Zweig's only novel, Ungeduld des Herzens (1938; Beware of Pity, 1939), was a penetrating study of the love of a crippled girl. Like Marie Antoinette, and several other works by Zweig, this was later made into a motion picture. Sternstunden der Menschheit (1927; The Tide of Fortune, 1940) dramatized 12 significant events in the history of the human spirit; Die Heilung durch den Geist (1931; Mental Healers, 1933), included studies of Mesmer, Mary Baker Eddy, and *Freud, in whose psychoanalysis he was greatly interested; while Triumph und Tragik des Erasmus von Rotterdam (1934; Erasmus of Rotterdam, 1934) described the man whom Zweig considered his spiritual ancestor and mentor. A gentle, nonpolitical modern humanist, Zweig was deeply concerned about the position of the man of spirit in an increasingly brutalized world. In 1934 he wrote the libretto for Richard Strauss' opera Die schweigsame Frau. Its suppression by the Nazis became a cause célèbre. Zweig's correspondence with Strauss (ed. by W. Schuh) was published in 1957. Zweig's brilliant and highly charged style and his psychological penetration are evident from his first collection of stories, Die Liebe der Erika Ewald (1904), to his last completed work, Schachnovelle (1941; The Royal Game, 1944), which foreshadows the triumph of a mechanized civilization over the spirit of man. Three other collections were Erstes Erlebnis (1911), sensitive studies of childhood and adolescence; Amok (1922; Eng., 1931); and Verwirrung der Gefuehle (1927; Conflicts, 1927), on adult passions and problems.

Although Zweig took no part in Jewish communal life, some of his short stories deal with Jewish themes. The biblical " Legende der dritten Taube"; " Rahel rechtet mit Gott "; and " Buchmendel," the poignant tale of a Jewish bookseller, are three of those collected in Kaleidoscope (1934; Ger., Kaleidoskop, 1936). His most ambitious work of this type was Der begrabene Leuchter (1937; The Buried Candelabrum, 1937). Essays about his fellow writers were included in Begegnungen mit Menschen, Buechern, Staedten (1937). In his autobiography, written during World War ii, Die Welt von Gestern (1942; The World of Yesterday, 1943), Zweig sadly observed that "nine-tenths of what the world celebrated as Viennese culture in the 19th century was promoted, nourished, and created by Viennese Jewry."

A prey to increasing pessimism, Stefan Zweig, an inveterate world traveler and a tireless lecturer, settled in England in 1935. He lived first in London and later in Bath, then visited North and South America. Depressed by the fate of Europe, Zweig (together with his second wife, Elisabeth) committed suicide in Petropolis, near Rio de Janeiro. One of the most widely read writers between the world wars, Stefan Zweig is esteemed as a great storyteller, biographer, and humanitarian spirit. The International Stefan Zweig Society was founded in Vienna in 1957.

bibliography:

J. Romains, Stefan Zweig, Great European (1941); S. Liptzin, Germany's Stepchildren (1944), 211–25; Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature (1947); H. Arens, Stefan Zweig: A Tribute to his Life and Work (1951); A. Bauer, Stefan Zweig (Ger., 1961); F.M. Zweig, Stefan Zweig. Eine Bildbiographie (1961); H. Zohn, Wiener Juden in der deutschen Literatur (1964), 19–30; W. Schramm, Stefan Zweig (Ger., 1961); R.J. Klawiter, Stefan Zweig; a Bibliography (1965); R. Dumont, Stefan Zweig et la France (1967), includes bibliography; Stern, in: zgjd, 4 (1967), 247–56; Haaretz (Feb. 24, 1967), supplement. add. bibliography: D.A. Prater, European of Yesterday: A Biography of Stefan Zweig (2006).

[Harry Zohn]

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Zweig, Stefan

ZWEIG, Stefan

Nationality: British (originally Austrian: immigrated to England, 1934, granted British citizenship, 1940). Born: Vienna, 28 November 1881. Education: Studied German and Romance literatures, University of Vienna, Ph.D. 1904; also studied at University of Berlin and the Sorbonne, Paris. Family: Married 1) Friderike Maria Burger von Winternitz in 1919 (divorced); 2) Elisabeth Charlotte Altmann in 1939. Military Service: Worked in the Austrian War Archives during World War I. Career: Traveled to China, India, Africa, and North America in the years prior to World War I; moved to Salzburg, 1919; lived in England, 1934-40; traveled to the United States and South America, 1940-42. Award: Bauernfeld prize for lyric poetry, 1906. Died: Suicide, 22 February 1942.

Publications

Collection

Gesammelte Werke in Einzelbände (10 vols.). 1981.

Novels

Brennendes Geheimnis: Eine Erzahlung (novella). 1911; as The Burning Secret, 1919.

Angst (novella). 1920.

Der Zwang (novella). 1920.

Die Augen des Ewigen Bruders (novella). 1922.

Der begrabene Leuchter (novella). 1936; as The Buried Candelabrum, 1937.

Ungeduld des Herzens. 1939; as Beware of Pity, 1939.

Schachnovelle (novella). 1942; as The Royal Game, 1944.

Memoir

Welt von gestern. 1941; as The World of Yesterday: An Autobiography, 1943.

Short Stories

Die Liebe der Erika Ewald (novellas). 1904.

Erstes Erlebnis. 1911.

Amok (novellas). 1922; translated as Amok, 1931.

Passion and Pain (selections in English). 1924.

Verwirrung der Gefühle (novellas). 1927; as Conflicts, 1927.

Kaleidoscope (translation of Kaleidoskop ). 1934.

The Old Book Peddlar, and Other Tales for Bibliophiles (selections in English). 1937.

Legenden. 1945; as Jewish Legends, 1987.

Ausgewählte Novellen. 1946.

Stories and Legends (selections in English). 1955.

Plays

Tersites: Ein Traurspiel (produced Dresden and Kassel, 1908). 1907.

Der verwandelte Komödiant: Ein Spiel aus dem deutschen Rokoko. 1912.

Das Haus am Meer (produced Vienna, 1912). 1912.

Der verwandelte Komodant. 1913.

Jeremias (produced Switzerland, 1917). 1917; translated as Jeremiah, 1922.

Legende eines Lebens. 1919.

Volpone, adaptation of a play by Ben Jonson. 1926; translated as Ben Jonson's Volpone: A Loveless Comedy in Three Acts, 1926.

Die Flucht zu Gott. 1927.

Das Lamm des Armen. 1929.

Die schweigsame Frau, adaptation of a play by Ben Jonson (opera libretto), music by Richard Strauss. 1935.

Poetry

Silbern Saiten [Silver Strings]. 1901.

Die frühen Kränze. 1906.

Die gesammelten Gedichte. 1924.

Other

Verlaine (biography). 1905; translated as Paul Verlaine, 1913.

Emile Verhaeren (biography). 1910; translated as Emile Verhaeren, 1914.

Das Herz Europas: Ein Besuch im Genfer Roten Kreuz. 1918.

Fahrten: Landschaften und Städte. 1919.

Drei Meister: Balzac, Dickens, Dostojewski (biography). 1920; translated as Three Masters: Balzac, Dickens, Dostoeffsky, 1930.

Marceline Desbordes-Valmore: Das Lebensbild einer Dichterin (biography). 1920.

Romain Rolland (biography). 1921; translated as Romain Rolland, 1921.

Sainte-Beuve. 1923.

Der Kampf mit dem Damon: Holerin, Kleist, Nietzsche (biography). 1925; as The Struggle with the Demon, 1929.

Abschied von Rilke (essay). 1927; as Farewell to Rilke, 1975.

Sternstunden der Menschheit: Fünf historische Miniaturen. 1927; as The Tide of Fortune: Twelve Historical Miniatures, 1940.

Drei Dichter ihres Lebens: Casanova, Stendhal, Tolstoi (biography). 1928; as Adepts in Self-Portraiture: Casanova, Stendhal, Tolstoy, 1928.

Joseph Fouche (biography). 1929; translated as Joseph Fouche, 1930.

Die Heilung durch den Geist: Franz Anton Mesmer, Mary Baker Eddy, Sigmund Freud (biography). 1931; as Mental Healers, 1932.

Marie Antoinette (biography). 1932; translated as Marie Antoinette, 1933.

Triumph und Tragik des Erasmus von Rotterdam (biography). 1934; as Triumph and Tragedy of Erasmus of Rotterdam, 1934.

Maria Stuart (biography). 1935; as Mary, the Queen of Scotland and the Isles, 1935.

Castellio gegen Calvin; oder, Ein Gewissen gegen die Gewalt (biography). 1936; as The Right to Heresy: Castellio against Calvin, 1936.

Begegnungen mit Menschen, Buchern, Stadten (essays and criticism). 1937.

Magellan (biography). 1938; as Conqueror of the Seas, 1938.

Brazilien: Ein Land der Zukunft (travel). 1941; as Brazil, Land of the Future, 1941.

Amerigo: A Comedy of Errors in History (biography; translation of Amerigo; die geschichte eines historischen Irrtums ). 1942.

Zeit und Welt: Gesammelte Aufsätze und Vorträge, 1904-1940 , edited by Richard Friedenthal. 1943.

Balzac, edited by Richard Friedenthal (biography). 1946; translated as Balzac, 1946.

Briefwechsel: Stefan Zweig-Friderike Maria Zweig, 1912-42 (correspondence). 1951; as Stefan Zweig and Friderike Maria Zweig: Their Correspondence, 1954. Briefwechsel zwischen Richard Strauss und Stefan Zweig, edited by Willi Schuh. 1957; as A Confidential Matter: The Letters of Richard Strauss and Stefan Zweig, 1931-35, 1977.

Fragment einer Novelle, edited by Erich Fitzbauer. 1961.

Durch Zeiten und Welten, edited by Erich Fitzbauer. 1961.

Im Schnee, edited by Erich Fitzbauer. 1963.

Der Turm zu Babel, edited by Erich Fitzbauer. 1964.

Unbekannte Briefe aus der Emigration an eine Freundin, edited by Gisella Selden-Goth (correspondence). 1964.

Frühlingsfahrt durch die Provence: Ein Essay, edited by Erich Fitzbauer. 1965.

Die Monotonisierung der Welt: Aufsätze und Vorträge, edited by Volker Michels. 1976.

Brief an Freunde (correspondence). 1978.

Die Hochzeit von Lyon, edited by Erich Fitzbauer. 1980.

Das Stefan Zweig Buch, edited by Knut Beck (selections). 1981.

Das Geheimnis des künstlerischen Schaffens, edited by Knut Beck. 1981.

The Correspondence of Stefan Zweig with Raoul Auernheimer and with Richard Beer-Hofmann, edited by Donald G. Daviau, Jorun B. Johns, and Jeffrey B. Berlin. 1983.

Stefan Zweig/Paul Zech: Briefe 1910-1942, edited by Donald G. Daviau (correspondence). 1984.

Briefweschsel mit Hermann Bahr, Sigmund Freud, Ranier Maria Rilke und Arthur Schnitzler, edited by Jeffrey B. Berlin, Hans-Ulrich Lindken, and Donald A. Prater (correspondence). 1987.

Rainer Maria Rilke und Stefan Zweig in Briefen und Dokumenten, edited by Donald A. Prater (correspondence). 1987.

Editor, Eine Anthologie der besten Übersetzungen, by Paul Verlaine. 1902.

Editor, Gesammelte Werke, by Paul Verlaine (2 vols.). 1922.

Edtior, Literarische Portraits aus dem Frankreich des XVII.-XIX. Jahrhunderts, by Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (2 vols.). 1923.

Editor, Romantische Erzählungen, by Francois René Auguste and Vicomte de Chateaubriand. 1924.

Editor, Goethes Gedichte: Eine Auswahl, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. 1927.

Translator, Ausgewählte Gedichte, by Emile Verhaeren. 1904.

Translator, Die visionäre Kunstphilosophie des William Blake, by Archibald B.H. Russell. 1906.

Translator, Drei Dramen: Helenas Heimkehr; Phillipp II; Das Kloster , by Emile Verhaeren. 1910.

Translator, Hymnen an das Leben, by Emile Verhaeren. 1911.

Translator, Rembrandt, by Emile Verhaeren. 1912.

Translator, Rubens, by Emile Verhaeren. 1913.

Translator, Den hingerichteten Völkern, by Romain Rolland. 1918.

Translator, Die Zeit wird kommen, by Romain Rolland. 1919.

Translator, Weib: Roman, by Madeline Marx. 1920.

Translator, with Erwin Rieger, Cressida, by André Suarés. 1920.

Translator, Clérambault: Geschichte eines freien Gewissens im Kriege, by Romain Rolland. 1922.

Translator, Man weiss nicht wie, by Luigi Pirandello. 1935.

Translator, with Richard Friedenthal, Ein Schimmerlicht im Dunkel, by Irwin Edman. 1940.

*

Film Adaptations:

Beware of Pity, 1946; Letter from an Unknown Woman, 1948, from the novella; Fear, 1954, from the novella Angst; Brainwashed, 1960, from the novella The Royal Game.

Bibliography:

Stefan Zweig: A Bibliography, 1965, Stefan Zweig: An International Bibliography, 1991, and Stefan Zweig: An International Bibliography, Addendum I, 1999, all by Randolph J. Klawiter.

Manuscript Collection:

Daniel Reed Library, State University of New York College, Fredonia.

Critical Studies:

Stefan Zweig, Great European by Jules Romains, translated by James Whitall, 1941; Stefan Zweig by Friderike Maria Burger Winternitz Zweig, translated by Erna McArthur, 1946; Stefan Zweig; A Tribute to His Life and Work by Hanns Arens, translated by Christobel Fowler, 1951; "Jewish Themes in Stefan Zweig" by Harry Zohn, in Journal of the International Arthur Schnitzler Research Association, 6(2), 1967, pp. 32-38; European of Yesterday: A Biography of Stefan Zweig by Donald A. Prater, 1972; Stefan Zweig: A Critical Biography by Elizabeth Allday, 1972; Stefan Zweig issue of Modern Austrian Literature, 14(3-4), 1981; Stefan Zweig: The World of Yesterday's Humanist Today: Proceedings of the Stefan Zweig Symposium, edited by Marion Sonnenfeld, 1983; Moral Values and the Human Zoo: The Novellen of Stefan Zweig by David Turner, 1988; "Stefan Zweig and Franz Werfel: Humanism and Mysticism as Responses to Antisemitism and the Holocaust" by Lionel B. Steiman, in Holocaust Studies Annual, edited by Sanford Pinsker and Jack Fischel, 1990.

* * *

Arthur Schnitzler, a contemporary of Stefan Zweig, once remarked that many people have to hear a shot in order to realize that a murder has been committed. This observation may be applied to Stefan Zweig, who escaped the Nazis, was not overtly deprived of his freedom, and was not killed in a concentration camp but who, nevertheless, can be considered a victim of the Holocaust. He was driven from Austria and especially from Vienna, a city that supplied him the psychological energy to write. Without cultural roots, he became more and more melancholic and depressed. He could not envision an end to the barbarism of the Nazis, and he, together with his wife, took his own life.

Zweig, the author of The Royal Game and The World of Yesterday, was born in Vienna, Austria, to the son of a well-todo Jewish industrialist on 28 November 1881. Although an Austrian by birth, he can be considered a truly European writer since he transcends national borders. His essays, novels, short stories, and biographies are characterized by elements of psychological realism, testifying to Zweig's interest in psychology, especially in Sigmund Freud. His publications, including his translations (he was fluent in French), embrace the life and era of many well-known figures in various walks of life, artists as well as diplomats. A lifelong friendship connected him with the pacifist Romain Rolland and the Belgian Émile Verhaeren. Having studied at the University of Vienna, the University of Berlin, and the Sorbonne, Zweig settled in Salzburg in 1919. Since political events endangered his personal safety (his books were openly burned by the fascists in Berlin on 10 May 1933, and his home in Salzburg was searched by the Austrian police for weapons in 1934), he left for England in 1934. His first marriage to Friderike, with whom he continued to stay in contact until the end of his life, ended in divorce; in 1939 he moved to Bath and married for the second time, to German immigrant Elisabeth Charlotte Altmann. After becoming a British citizen in 1940, he left with his wife for South America in the same year by way of New York. On 22 February 1942 he and his wife committed suicide in Petrópolis, near Rio de Janeiro.

Zweig set down his humanistic credo and also the personal justification for his political noninvolvement in his Triumph and Tragedy of Erasmus of Rotterdam (1934). In Erasmus, a figure with whom he strongly identified and whose aims he shared, Zweig showed the strength and weakness of liberal-humanistic thinking, the strength being that humanism is not tied to national boundaries but is a force of the spirit and mind uniting all Western nations. This kind of humanism can "never be revolutionary," he stated in Erasmus ; "[a] man of intellect had, such was Erasmus's conviction, nothing other to do in this world than to determine and elucidate truths; his was not to march forth and fight for these truths." Erasmus did not attempt to translate his theories into action, in his case against the "fanatic" Martin Luther, just as Zweig, and other Austrian intellectuals, did not take the dangers of the rising Nazi movement seriously. Erasmus, as well as Zweig, neglected to include the masses in his elitist humanistic circle, and in this exclusion lay also the tragedy of the humanistic movement. The masses, the moving force of social change, were excluded from realizing this noble goal: "[Erasmus] considered the masses … unworthy the attention of a refined and educated man, and it would be beneath his dignity to woo the favours of 'barbarians."' Zweig considered this attitude to be the tragic flaw of this optimistic utopian worldview; the "armchair philosophies" created an ideology that did not take into account the irrational elements of the people as well as human weaknesses and national wars; this humanistic world order proved ineffective when confronted with actual reality. Zweig pointed to the dichotomy between the introverted humanistic thinker and the extroverted man of action also in his biographical novel The Right to Heresy: Castellio against Calvin when he remarked that humanists are not activists and vice versa. Zweig was on the side of Erasmus, the cosmopolitan thinker; an intellectual "cannot afford to take sides, his realm is the realm of equable justice; he must stand above the heat and fury of the contest."

Zweig's belief in the victory of the spirit over war and aggression was shattered during and after World War I. For him the world of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in which he felt at home, became a world of yesterday. Disillusioned, he left his native land, but in exile Zweig did not have the psychological security and cultural environment that he needed for his productivity, and he ended his life. If there was a shortcoming in his life, then it can be seen in his decision to be apolitical in a time when political involvement was necessary for physical and cultural survival. This political passivity, however, also characterized some other intellectuals living in the waning days of the Austrian fin de siécle of the 1900s.

—Gerd K. Schneider

See the essays on The Royal Game and The World of Yesterday: An Autobiography.

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